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Don’t be confused by panicked price action in regional banks: the deposit crisis is subsiding. One example can be found in the reduced balances for emergency lending programs at the Fed. Those have fallen by $100bn since the March 22nd peak, a sign that stress is abating, and after the failure of FRC in the latest weekly data, 74% of the balances are now loans to the FDIC rather than funding for banks that have yet to fail.
Data on bank balance sheets tells the same story. Domestically chartered banks saw deposits up WoW by a total of $21bn. What’s even more encouraging is core loan growth. Total lending across consumer, commercial & industrial, and real estate loans rose by $29.4bn in the week of April 26th. That’s a major acceleration and was led by smaller banks in a sign that the liquidity stress of deposit swings are hitting credit creation less than feared.
Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that the KBW Regional Bank index was down 8% this week…and that’s after a 4.7% rally on Friday. For their part, large cap stocks suffered through four straight losses before a 1.9% surge in response to strong payrolls data Friday. This marks the fifth-straight week that the S&P 500 has reversed direction from the prior week. Of course, banks weren’t the only reversal: front-month WTI collapsed 7.3% in thin liquidity around dinner time Thursday night before a sharp 12% rally from that low through the close on Friday. Add in the Fed, which has raised the bar for further hikes, and we have what looks like three different storms passing this week and clearing the skies for stocks.
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